Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 5

analytic language - Features of analytic languages

meaning words grammatical

A type of language in which words do not vary their form to show their grammatical function in a sentence; also known as an isolating language. In such languages (eg Chinese), the relationships between the words are shown solely by their order. Analytic languages are opposed to synthetic languages, in which words typically combine a grammatical meaning with their dictionary meaning; for example, the English word horses contains the meaning of ‘plural’ in addition to the sense of ‘animal’. Most languages display features of both systems.

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